Kong on the Planet of the Apes #6 (April 2018)

Kong on the Planet of the Apes #6

Kong on the Planet of the Apes #6 is one of those shocking disappointments. When I got done with the comic, I had to page back through to make sure I’d read it right. It really does just serve as a connective tissue between the first Apes movie and the second one. None of the character development matters. None of the events matter. It’s all about moving chess pieces.

I suppose Ferrier does an admirable job moving them. I mean, it’s soulless work, but he does the work. He and his editors do prime the scene for the second Apes movie. They just don’t do anything else.

Oh, wait, there’s an Empire State Building reference. Because Kong hits the Forbidden Zone and this time it’s basically all of New York City, just underground. There aren’t the budget constraints of the second movie.

It doesn’t come off well, visually. Nothing comes off well.

What a disappointing book. Though I’m upset with myself I had any hope for it.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Carlos Magno; colorist, Alex Guimarães; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Gavin Gronenthal and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Kong on the Planet of the Apes #5 (March 2018)

Kong on the Planet of the Apes #5

Kong attacks Ape City in Kong on the Planet of the Apes #5. And instead of being some fantastic homage to previous Kong stories, that giant ape attack just shows how poorly Magno is able at visualizing a giant ape attacking humanoid apes. The Kong action panels are sparing–though there are some questionable close-ups–and even then way too much. By the end of the comic, when the Skull Island priestess hopes on Kong’s shoulder to run off and plan their escape? Magno’s burned through all the goodwill. And the book had just on surviving nostalgia fumes.

Until Kong breaks out, most of the issue is the movie regulars being awful to one another. Cornelius has betrayed Zira, Zaius is playing martyr, Ursus (the ape general) is trying to take down Kong. It’s tiresome. And the furry dinosaur monsters aren’t any better.

Kong breaking out gives the story some energy, even if the art doesn’t work out, and Ferrier writes the issue into a perplexing soft cliffhanger. A callback, again, to the first movie and an unexpected plot development. The development makes me concerned how Ferrier’s going to wrap it all up in an issue.

Unless Boom! has Son of Kong on the Planet of the Apes planned or something.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Carlos Magno; colorist, Alex Guimarães; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Gavin Gronenthal and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Kong on the Planet of the Apes #4 (February 2018)

Kong on the Planet of the Apes #4

Maybe a quarter of the way into Kong on the Planet of the Apes #4–really makes me hope there’s a Son of Kong Beneath the Planet of the Apes sequel–but about a quarter in, I couldn’t help but wonder why I’m reading such a depressing comic. It’s not like there’s a happy ending for a Planet of the Apes story or a King Kong story. This issue doesn’t just have a captured Kong crying–dashing hopes of him stomping Ape City–it’s got the gorillas kidnapping one of the Skull Island natives and then a big twist for fans of the original movies. Especially the first three movies.

Of course, not all in the first quarter. The first quarter just has kidnapped native and crying Kong.

But I kept reading. Because even though reading some depressing sociological look at a fictive future society seems not just pointless but downright unpleasant… Ferrier writes sociological looks at fictive future societies quite well. He covers a lot. Religion. Hucksterism. Science. Military. The intersections of the four. It’s a smart script. It just happens to be for a mostly disposable licensed franchise crossover.

The last quarter of the issue is far more action-packed, with Ferrier and Magno pacing it beautifully.

I knew I read this comic for better reasons than I’m a sucker for Kong.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Carlos Magno; colorist, Alex Guimarães; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Gavin Gronenthal and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Kong on the Planet of the Apes #3 (January 2018)

Kong on the Planet of the Apes #3

I was wondering how long I could sustain interest in Kong on the Planet of the Apes and I think that answer is three issues. Kong #3 is fine–Magno’s art is less detailed, which sometimes works better than when he’s extremely detailed. Detailed meaning lines. Lots and lots of lines.

The humans are good, the Kong action is good. The Apes? Not so much. I mean, it’s fine, but boring. Ferrier doesn’t have anything for the good apes to do this issue. It’s all the bad apes planning to attack and kidnap Kong.

Why?

Because it’s what happens in Kong stories.

Unfortunately, Ferrier forces his way through it all. The scientists keep talking about making important discoveries but they aren’t discovering anything, just talking about it. The gorilla general’s story is ominous and unlikable. It’s unpleasant. The bad apes are planning to kill all the Skull Island humans, it’s just waiting for them to do it.

There’s no humor in this issue either. No witty observations about either franchise. There is some stuff from the BOOM! Kong license, which isn’t the movies and centers around the Skull Island tribal culture.

Frankly, yawn.

But those scenes are the ones with better Magno lines.

Anyway. I say I’m done but I’ll probably be back for one more. I just remembered Ferrier’s doing a direct sequel to the first movie and maybe there are some loose ends to tie up from it. Maybe Charlton Heston comes back. Maybe Kong carries Charlton Heston to the top of the Statue of Liberty.

Probably not. But maybe.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Carlos Magno; colorist, Alex Guimarães; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Gavin Gronenthal and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Kong on the Planet of the Apes 2 (December 2017)

Kong on the Planet of the Apes #2

Ferrier continues with his weird sequel to the first Planet of the Apes movie, only with a little King Kong thrown in. And a lot of Skull Island. There’s plenty of Skull Island. And its natives and its monsters.

Magno’s design on the monsters–furry dinosaurs, killer vines, a pterodactyl–all looks a little off. Even though there’s good panel composition, Magno’s a little too busy for the action. He paces well though. He and Ferrier get a lot of story into one issue.

Even if it’s just the apes walking around the island until the natives find them, so not a long present action. But an active one.

Ferrier tries to reconcile the first film’s events with the rest of the original film series’s continuity (like why do the apes now hunt humans given John Huston told them to be friends). And he and Magno are downright gentle when it comes to Zira and Cornelius.

Kong is more than competently produced and fairly interesting (thanks to Ferrier).

If you dig Planet of the Apes licensed comics, anyway.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Carlos Magno; colorist, Alex Guimarães; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Gavin Gronenthal and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Kong on the Planet of the Apes 1 (November 2017)

Kpota1Kong on the Planet of the Apes #1

For a while, Kong on the Planet of the Apes is kind of fun. Writer Ryan Ferrier is doing a direct sequel to the original movie, but with Queen Kong on the shore just behind the Statue of Liberty. Roddy McDowell and Kim Hunter are still under house arrest for helping Charlton Heston. It’s an interesting way to do the crossover–Ferrier’s doing a sequel as subplot.

Plus there are a few moments where Dr. Zaius reminds, alternately, of Robert Armstrong and, yes, Charles Grodin. Kong on the Planet might be an Apes sequel, but it also has a lot of King Kong-related feels.

Basically the remaining cast of the first movie goes on the Kong hunt expedition. Zira writes about the ocean voyage. They land at another ape settlement and get provisions and hear tales of the dreaded giant apes.

By the end of the issue, they’re at Skull Island and artist Carlos Magno is drawing a terrible Kong. Some of the mystery is gone. But hopefully next issue will have enough oddity factor to get it through. Ferrier’s script falls off once they’re underway at sea. He’s going to have to reestablish the book real quick next issue.

As for Magno’s art? Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not. He’s too concentrated on lines. His faces aren’t distinct. They’re busy but not distinct. It’s a talky comic, knowing a character from sight is important. And Dr. Zaius never looks the same from panel to panel. There’s always something a little off.

Anyway. It’s worth at least another issue. It’s going to be six issues; Ferrier makes the case for about three here. So two’s going to be important.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Carlos Magno; colorist, Alex Guimarães; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Gavin Gronenthal and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Kennel Block Blues 4 (May 2016)

Kennel Block Blues #4

Ferrier tries really hard to get this issue to the finish. It doesn’t really happen. Oh, he and Bayliss get there, but there’s nowhere for them to be. The characters never resonate; definitely not the protagonists, who have almost no chemistry. Ferrier takes it out on an even bigger downer note.

This issue has a musical number and a prison riot. Now, Kennel Block Blues has never shown the human “guards” past some demonic hands. Only they’re people. There is some semblance of functioning reality to the book, as much as Ferrier tries to avoid it, he does need it. Because if there’s not a functioning reality, who cares if these dogs get loose.

Maybe the first half of the issue is solid. Bayliss’s art is good throughout, but Ferrier’s only got story for the first half. Once there’s the prison break, he loses track.

It’s a bumpy book, with great art and not bad zeitgeist gimmickry; Ferrier can’t bring it together for the finale.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Daniel Bayliss; colorist, Adam Metcalfe; letterer, Colin Bell; editors, Mary Gumport and Eric Harburn; publisher, Image Comics.

Hot Damn 2 (May 2016)

Hot Damn #2

I’m still undecided on Hot Damn, which I wasn’t expecting. I was expecting to jump off with this issue–something about Ferrier’s writing style for this comic, he’s trying too hard to be flashy. He knows Ramon can really do up the Heaven and Hell scenery and Ferrier pushes it. There is actual nuance to some of the characters, Ferrier just doesn’t want to get caught up.

He wants to be sensational. He wants to do something blasphemous. He fails. Even with Ramon’s art, Hot Damn is just desperate for attention. I’m not even sure what zeitgeist it’s chasing, because Ferrier has original material and then he has tropes he goes through. Maybe it’s something with IDW editorial. Hot Damn is creator-owned but does have an editor.

So I guess I’m on for another issue. There’s some good stuff in the issue, some amusing moments, some very amusing sight gags from Ramon. There’s also a lot of lame stuff in the issue, lame moments, lame sight gags from Ramon. I’m far more curious to see if Ferrier gets anywhere, even somewhere tepid, with Hot Damn than I am to see how the narrative goes. While narrative’s barely passable, the execution’s bewildering.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Valentin Ramon; editor, David Hedgecock; publisher, IDW Publishing.

HOT DDDDDDD

Hot Damn 1 (April 2016)

Hot Damn #1

Didn’t I just read a Hell series lately? Or was it a Heaven series? One or the other. Or it’s both. Hot Damn is sort of both. Ryan Ferrier writes, Valentin Ramon illustrates. It’s the story of some guy who ODes on coke and dies. He goes to Hell. Hell has thousand year twelve step programs (regular sinners promoted to demons), it has gross junk food, it has crappy apartments, it’s generally icky. With lots of fluids.

Ramon does a fine job with all the Hell stuff. He does a fine job with all the Heaven stuff (angels getting stoned, mostly). It’s detailed and never too icky. There’s far more implied grossness than actual.

But is Hot Damn any good? Eh.

It’s okay. It’s not the worst “slacker goes to Hell” story in the world. It’s not the best. Ferrier’s a problematic writer, but he actually doesn’t do much here. The jokes are all pretty standard, there’s nothing of particular note about the characters. I thought the Devil was going to be interesting, but no. He’s just a boring office guy so far. Sure, Hitler, Stalin and Mao are all in his office being tormented but it’s Hell. Stalin, Mao and Hitler in Hell are all tropes.

Maybe something interesting will happen next issue. But, sadly, I sort of doubt it.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Valentin Ramon; editor, David Hedgecock; publisher, IDW Publishing.

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